Minnesota Department of Transportation

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State Aid for Local Transportation

Bicycle Path Design

bicyclist biking on scenic bike path

Bicycle Path Design

Our intent is to provide you with clear, concise guidance when designing a bicycle path or trail which is financed with federal or State Aid funds.

On-Road Bikeway

On-road bike standards are included in the State Aid Operations Rules Chapter 8820 adopted February 4, 2013.

Off-Road Bikeway, Shared-Use Trail or Path

If you are designing an off-road bikeway, shared-use trail or path the standards shown in State Aid Rule 8820.9995 Minimum Bicycle Path Standards must be met.

When design elements are not covered by State Aid Rules, State Aid recommends that the designer follow the MnDOT Bikeway Facility Design Manual (PDF, 25 MB - currently being updated) dated March 2007 and its associated website updates. While this document covers many issues, there are some design elements which differ within this manual.

Designers should be aware of the following recommended State Aid bikeway guidelines:

  • Railing height should be at least 54” high both on and off bridges
  • Maximum trail superelevation is 0.03 ft/ft to meet ADA requirements
  • Minimum length of a sag vertical curve is equal to two times the design speed (2V). There is no maximum length
  • No horizontal curve data is required if the delta angle is less than two degrees
  • 90 foot minimum radius with 0.03 ft/ft superelevation
  • 100 foot minimum radius with 0.02 ft/ft superelevation
  • The stopping sight distance must be calculated to determine crest vertical curve length. See charts for both 20 mph (PDF, 20 KB) and 30 mph (PDF, 20 KB) design speed crest vertical curve lengths. Crest vertical curves shall have a minimum length of two times the design speed.
  • Culverts – 15 inch minimum
  • Bituminous mixtures shall be gyratory design. A typical gyratory mixture would be SPWEB230B. Also, it is usually not economical to have a mixture tonnage less than 2000 tons. Thus, the designer should consider using mixes already specified on the project if the tonnage is small and the mixture is appropriate to use
  • Traffic control devices (signs and pavement markings, etc.) shall be installed in accordance with the Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MnMUTCD)
  • A traffic control layout must be shown in the plan or submitted with the plan
  • Shared Use Paths adjacent to roadways: State Aid Operations Rule Chapter 8820.9995 requires a design speed of 20 mph (30 mph for grades >= 4 percent and longer than 500’). For SUP’s immediately adjacent to a roadway, it isn’t always practical for the SUP to cross driveways with the vertical curvature necessary to meet the design speed continuously, and so in these cases it is acceptable to transition from SUP grades to driveway surface slopes without meeting the minimum required design speed and will not require a design exception or variance to do so. SUP’s not immediately adjacent to roadways are required to meet the minimum design speed or obtain a design exception and/or variance.

bike path design

If a project is being constructed and paid for using state aid funds and if requirements in a State Aid Rule cannot be met, a variance (PDF, 2 MB) is required. If a project is being constructed and paid for using federal funds and if requirements in a State Aid Rule cannot be met, a design exception (PDF, 2 MB) is required. Please contact Lynnette Roshell at lynnette.roshell@state.mn.us or 651-366-3822 for further guidance and assistance.